I’m devouring books again.
I was a great reader in high school, but during my college years, I couldn’t indulge my habit. Pleasure reading would have greatly interfered with my required academic reading. (Indeed, one Easter break, I started reading The Phantom of the Opera but didn’t manage to finish it before classes started again. Consequently, I was two days behind in my homework.)
When my reading groove is going, I am fast. For novels, I don’t try to figure out what will happen before it happens, because I am usually wrong and also I like to see what the message of the story is before deciding what I think. (It’s a conversation where I have to let the person, or book, have their say to be sure I understand and am able to speak on the same topic.)
While reading fast means I can get through lots of books quickly (Elanor & Park took me one day, as did The Memory Keeper’s Daughter), it also means I miss things. I have a friend who takes months to read something that I can finish in a few days, because she is processing and writing and responding the whole time. It had never occurred to me to try to regulate my pace before, but since that conversation, I have started connecting and thinking more about what I’m reading. I have been getting better at reading slowly and thoughtfully; The Undertaking lasted three weeks, since I intentionally set the book down after every chapter. My new CSLewis books will be similar reading; if I want to make sure I digest them, I need to take smaller bites of ideas and chew thoroughly. (Also, I hope to find people willing to discuss the books with me. I’m slowly coming around to admitting I’m a verbal processor.)
Maybe my intentional slower reading of certain books is why I am suddenly able to read more than one book at a time, provided they are different types. After all, what are you supposed to do between sections of The Problem of Pain or Sisters: the lives of America’s suffragists when your reading gears are still going? Why, pick up Geisha: A Life of course, or else Seven Daughters and Seven Sons.
Sometimes I am overwhelmed by how very many books there are and how, even if I do nothing but read for the rest of my life, I couldn’t read them all. Thank goodness for the ability to build a “Want to read” shelf on GoodReads.